Annan's Syria plan doomed |
Gulf Daily News - 03 July, 2012
Author: Alon Ben-Meir
After months of relentless slaughter, developments in Syria - with shockingly inordinate amounts of slain women and children - have demonstrated the international community's ineptitude and contemptible moral bankruptcy in the face of horrific carnage.
The failure to stop the crisis stems from the international community's unwillingness to take stern measures to end the killing while it continues to take cover under the Kofi Annan plan and mouths countless verbal condemnations of the Bashar Al Assad regime, knowing well that they will not succeed.
Those that can change the course of events in Syria, including the US, EU, Turkey and the Arab League, have shamefully demonstrated the most startling short-sightedness, coupled with wishful thinking, in the face of insurmountable odds.
With the suspension of the observer mission in Syria, Annan conjured yet another ingenious reformation of his beleaguered plan by calling for the creation of a Syria Contact Group that perplexingly includes Iran and Russia, who have and continue to provide Assad with the means by which he slaughters his people.
While Annan is genuinely trying to end the killings by diplomatic means, his desire to preserve his reputation as an international mediator continues to stand in the way.
Meanwhile, thousands of more innocent Syrians will die due to the West's inability to garner moral courage to decisively act.
In scenes of grotesque horror, thousands of children have been killed since the uprising began and thousands have suffered unimaginable torture and abuse.
With utter depravity, young children have been forced to witness the mutilation and execution of their fathers, only to meet the same fate as their family members.
Their throats are slashed while cradled in the arms of caring mothers. Young girls and women suffer the wickedness of sexual violence at the hands of unconscionable monsters and are then killed in full view of their loved ones.
Though barely scratching the surface, these events stand in stark contrast to the machinations of the international community, specifically those powers who can feasibly act to end the suffering.
Whether out of their unique political interests in sustaining the Assad regime (Russia, China and Iran) or the weak lack of will and misguided political calculations by Western powers to intervene, there is no willingness to provide the opposition with the necessary equipment to effectively defend themselves and no appetite to use military means against the onslaught.
To top this, the support for the first Annan plan that passed the UN Security Council precisely due to its toothless character set the lowest denominator for international action possible.
The formation of a contact group was ill conceived and will prove as hopelessly ineffective as the first plan.
The confounding irony of the contact group proposal was the call for Iranian participation, which defies all logic given Iran's role in providing crucial support for Assad's regime in the form of men and material.
Iran represents a country that has been destabilising the Middle East since its own revolution in 1979, a country that has been behind the insurgency in Iraq for the past decade, a country that is racing towards the development of a nuclear weapon, a country that has defied five Security Council resolutions while preventing the International Atomic Energy Agency from conducting unrestricted inspections, a country under intense international sanctions due to its intransigence and a country that seeks regional hegemony by preserving, at all costs, the Shi'ite Crescent that stretches from the Arabian Gulf to the Mediterranean.
Annan believes Iran should be part of the solution, but, in fact, it is very much a part of the problem.
In supporting Annan's proposal, the international community engaged in an illusory approach that is guaranteed to fail at the expense of the Syrian people.
It is extremely difficult not to conjure up a higher form of hypocrisy and ineptitude. TOMORROW: Two solutions to Syria crisis * Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Centre for Global Affairs at New York University, where he teaches international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies